I just wanted to check. I want to get 전사 tattooed down my calf. Would it mean the same thing if it looked like:

I'm going for the first character over the second.

Thank you for your time.

2 Answers 2


Excerpted from Wikipedia Hangul Block Shape, note the following rules.

All or most of these rules are broken by this fighter's example tattoo a @LifeOnTheMoon answer:

전사 문신 헨더슨

  • Do not stretch initial consonant vertically, but leave white space below if no lower vowel and/or no final consonant. (Note the ㅈ is stretched 95% or greater to the bottom without enough white space to even put in the final morpho-syllabic block forcing the batchim to barely make it in)
  • Do not stretch right-hand vowel vertically, but leave white space below if no final consonant. (Often the right-hand vowel extends farther down than the left-hand consonant, like a descender in European typography) (the is the same height as the disregarding proper white spacing/padding)
  • Do not stretch final consonant horizontally, but leave white space to its left. (obviously not only is there no white space to the left of the final consonant (batchim), it is offset out to the left, outside of the morpho-syllabic block!)
  • Do not stretch or pad each block to a fixed width, but allow kerning (variable width) where syllable blocks with no right-hand vowel and no double final consonant can be narrower than blocks that do have a right-hand vowel or double final consonant. (perhaps it's debatable if they broke this rule, however, the spacing/padding/layout inside the morpho-syllabic block is childish.)

Oh no! But I want that tattoo - can you show me what it is supposed to look like?

I don't have calligraphy brushes, but i've photoshopped together the horizontal and vertical versions in a form of 흘림체:


Horizontal form of 전사 "figher"


Vertical form of 전사 "figher"



it's okay. but just one more thing.

Most Koreans do not write 'ㄴ' long side - to - side.

  • 2
    From the image, I guess the lesson is "Find a tattooist who can read Hangul."
    – jick
    Jun 1, 2018 at 4:57
  • Thank you! So keeping the 'ㄴ' will be okay if it's vertical and not horizontal?
    – JMV12
    Jun 1, 2018 at 10:59
  • @JMV12 no. well, yes, you have to the the and it belongs to , but in the picture the is for lack of any better explanation, "wrong". A final consonant, if present, is always written at the bottom, under the vowel. This is called 받침 batchim "supporting floor". The other characters in the two morpho-syllabic blocks are sloppy and formed as if by one whose hangul is pre-formative. Jun 1, 2018 at 13:50
  • I see. I'm not trying to get the same tattoo as the picture or in the same style. I wanted to get it down my calf. Like 전 then 사 right below it. One on top of the other. I was hoping it would still represent "Warrior".
    – JMV12
    Jun 1, 2018 at 14:23
  • i'd like to point something out after having thought about this fighter's tattoo for the past few hours. it seems to me that his artistic representation is not wrong, since art is not able to be "wrong", imho. but to recant my saying that his tattoo is wrong would be incorrect, since i said the "전" is phonetically odd/wrong. i realize you are thinking "okay so what". but what dawned on me is that he may have moved the characters in such a way that they also represent something else and maybe multiple something elses. so then maybe he borrowed the 전사 layout to embed other meaning(s). Jun 1, 2018 at 15:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.